Actually, I stopped today at exactly 20,000 words. And exactly 110,000 characters. Weird that.
The Dream King Daughter’s Scorecard
Word Count: 20,000
Increase since last report (Dec 11): 5,461
So, depending if I can sustain this story for 40,000 or 50,000 words, it’s either 2/5ths to half done!
I’ve been pleased at how the story is progressing, though it remains quite disorganized. A fair amount of progress has been made in the middle, in a segment that takes place in a dilapidated general store in an abandoned hamlet somewhere in Saskatchewan. Erin suggested that one thing the story could use would be a “lieutenant” character, some lesser evil that could harry Aurora and Polk until the final confrontation with the Dream King.
The idea has turned into a slick and slightly sleazy character tentatively named Salvadore. I haven’t had much chance to flesh out his character, or even make him particularly loathsome, but for some reason he’s coming across my mind’s eye as Simon Pegg. Well, read this isolated snippet and see for yourself.
Before I start, I should mention that the picture above is entitled simply 1420 and is by Katie Tegtmeyer. It is actually of an abandoned building (gas station?) in DeKalb, Illinois. The photo is used here in compliance with her Creative Commons license. Anyway, on with the story.
At this point in the story, Aurora has recovered from being drugged and has escaped her imprisonment in the general store’s bathroom. Polk is missing somewhere.
Aurora crept out from the bathroom, careful to close the door behind her without the doorknob clicking. Crouching low, she eased into the store, listening carefully to Salvadore’s voice.
“Yes, she’s here,” said Salvadore. “We got her. She’s packaged up and waiting for you.”
She paused by the housewares aisle, and carefully peeped out the end. Salvadore was standing by the cash register, leaning on the counter with his back to her, his hand cupped to his ear.
He drew up sharply. “I didn’t hurt her.” There was a squabble on the other end of the line. “I didn’t! Yes, she is restrained.” More squabbles. “Look, she wasn’t going to come quietly.”
Aurora ran her gaze across the open space between her and Salvadore. There were three aisles of groceries on her right, but the rest of the space was open save for a display bin full of candy bars. Above Salvadore, a security mirror displayed the whole store, but the man was too engrossed in his phone call to look up at it.
There was a burst of babble on the other end of the line.
“Look,” snapped Salvadore, “she doesn’t know the truth; she just thinks she’s a normal kid — there’s no way she can believe the truth, especially if I’m the one to tell her. So I thought I’d leave the explanations to you guys.”
The squabbling rose in intensity again. Salvadore raised his other hand in a futile gesture to ward it off. He tried several times to jump into the tirade, and failed.
Aurora crept past one shelf and into the cover of another aisle. She peered out into the open area and stepped out again. The front door eased closer.
“Will you listen to me!” Salvadore cut in finally. “I give you my word of honour that she’ll not be the worst for wear. You can trust me; I’m a professional — I’ve had more captures than you’ve had hot breakfasts. You come, you untie her, you talk to her. Pretty soon you’ll have her wrapped around your little finger, I assure you. Okay?”
There was a grumpy mumble at the other end, but Salvadore nodded curtly. “Good.” He half turned towards the store, then halted and turned back. “Wait, wait! Before you go, could you tell me something? I’m just checking, you understand,” he said, and swallowed. “I know your instructions are, not to hurt her, but what about the other one, her boyfriend? In the course of duty, you understand?”
A brief squabble.
“Why?” echoed Salvadore. “Well, for one thing, he’s bigger and a lot harder to dupe, that’s why, and I had to take stronger measures.” A short gabble. “That’s fine? Okay, good! Good to know.”
There was a click. Salvadore dropped his hand to his side. It was empty. Smiling, he turned around.
And Aurora brained him with the frying pan she’d picked up in aisle three.